Their losing streak finally over, an inconsistent Delhi Daredevils would look to continue the new-found momentum against a struggling Gujarat Lions here tomorrow and keep their slim IPL play-off hopes alive. As has been the case in the past editions, it has not been a good campaign for Rahul Dravid’s men in the tournament so far. They slumped to a five-match losing streak to languish at the bottom half of the table before managing to pull off a win last night against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The win not only lifted Daredevils to sixth position in the standings but also gave them a ray of hope to qualify for the play-offs, although for that to happen, they cannot afford to flounder even once from here on. Mathematically, Daredevils are in the fray but they will have to win all their remaining matches and hope for favourable results from other games.
Daredevils’ much-criticised batting came to the team’s rescue against Hyderabad yesterday after its relatively young bowling attack came a cropper. Daredevils’ fine batting helped them stun the defending champions with five balls to spare. Each and every Delhi batsman, who got a chance, contributed in the win.
Openers Karun Nair (39) and Sanju Samson (24), Rishabh Pant (34), Shreyas Iyer (33), Corey Anderson (41 not out) and Chris Morris (15 not out) all pitched in to save the day and Daredevils would be hoping for a repeat show tomorrow. But it is Daredevils’ bowling which would be a cause of concern for Dravid.
In the absence of an injured Zaheer Khan, Delhi’s pace attack looked listless with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Morris and Mohammad Shami going for runs. If not for the spin duo of Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav, who managed to put brakes on the scoring, Sunrisers would have piled up an above 200-run score.
Gujarat Lions, on the other hand, are all but out of the race as they are struggling at the second last position in the eight-team tournament with just six points from 10 games. Having finished an impressive third in their inaugural season last year, it turned out to be a disappointing campaign for the Lions in 2017. Only a miracle from here on might see them qualify for the knock-out stages.
Gujarat Lions are a batting heavy side with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Ishan Kishan, Aaron Finch, skipper Suresh Raina, Dwayne Smith and Dinesh Karthik in the line-up. But more often than not, it is their inexperienced bowling unit which has cost the side dearly in the ongoing IPL. The likes of Shardul Thakur, James Faulkner, Basil Thampi and Ravindra Jadeja have failed to live upto the expectations of the side.
The Lions are coming into the match following consecutive losses, which includes the heartbreaking defeat against Mumbai Indians in a thrilling Super Over finish at Rajkot, which more or less demolished their chances. With nothing to lose, the Lions would be eager to show their might in their remaining games in the tournament.
Delhi Dardevils: Zaheer Khan(C), Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Ankit Bawne, Aditya Tare, Murugan Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Shashank Singh, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Chama Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh, Marlon Samuels.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (C), Akshadeep Nath, Basil Thampi, Shubham Agarwal, Dwayne Smith, Chirag Suri, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Manpreet Gony, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik, Dhaval Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brandon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jason Roy, Jaydev Shah, Shelly Shaurya, Nathusingh, Tejas Baroka and Andrew Tye.